Congratulations, residents of our nation’s capital. You’ve almost made it through yet another treacherous winter — and the horrible traffic slowdowns that come with it — living inside The Beltway.
As the spring sun shines across the Potomac and you start to prepare for all those gorgeous cherry blossoms, it’s also time to ready your home for the warmer months.
We consulted with a handful of experts to bring you the ultimate Washington, D.C. spring cleaning guide.
Spring is the perfect time to re-envision the rooms in your home. While you’re spring cleaning, take note of any rooms in your home that feel too dark or heavy because of extra furniture. Then, call the team at Closetbox to help you lighten up your house. Their team of expert movers will arrive at your home, load your belongings into a truck and carefully transport them to a secure storage facility.
When you decide you want your items back, they’ll deliver them to your door, giving you more time to enjoy the warm, breezy spring weather on the National Mall.
Deep clean the floors
Think about it: All winter long, your floors are subjected to dirt, grime, melting snow and salt used to keep the D.C. sidewalks free from ice. They could probably use a refresh.
If you haven’t shampooed your carpets in a while (or, you know, ever), spring is a great time to rent a carpet cleaner. As for your hardwood floors, consider a steam mop — they work wonders for making your home feel sanitary, especially after this tough cold and flu season.
While you’re cleaning your floors, grab a microfiber cloth and some warm soapy water to wipe down your baseboards. When was the last time any of us cleaned those?
Clean your windows
Burning candles or using your fireplace on all those cold winter nights can leave a film of soot on your windows, says Marnie Hammel, a cleaning expert with Two Maids & A Mop, which serves the D.C. area.
While you’re probably in the habit of regularly Windexing your mirrors, spring is a good time to deep-clean your windows, too. Hammel suggests mixing water and vinegar for this task. (Pro-top: You can use the same mixture to remove dirt and salt stains from your garage floor, while you’re at it.)
She also recommends freshening up your blinds, drapes and curtains, which can collect dirt, dust and pet hair over time. Dust and wipe down blinds or, if they’re made of plastic or metal, take them outside and wash with your hose. She suggests using a vacuum attachment to clean your curtains or tossing them in the washing machine.
Give shutters new life
While tidying up the interior of your home will certainly make you feel refreshed and renewed for spring, don’t forget about the outside of your house. After being battered by snow and ice all winter, it could likely use a facelift as well.
“Winter weather can cause your exterior windows and shutters to fade,” Hammel says. “Hit them with a fresh coat of paint for the spring season. Be sure to clean them thoroughly before touching up.”
Perform routine maintenance
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to stop at dusting, scrubbing and washing. Remember: spring is also an important time to perform routine maintenance on your home for the upcoming year.
Now is a good time to clean out the dryer vent that leads to the outside of your house, suggests John Bodrozic, co-founder of HomeZada, a suite of apps that can help you manage your home.
“This vent gets lint that builds up over time, which is when you start to notice that it takes longer to dry your clothes,” he says. “Performing this simple task reduces your energy bill because the dryer is more efficient, it eliminates a huge source of house fires and avoids having to replace your dryer sooner than you need to.”
He also recommends draining your hot water heater to remove the sediment and minerals that can build up over time.
Hack your cleaning process
If you’re someone who absolutely hates cleaning, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are some simple techniques you can use to “hack” the spring cleaning process and make it easier on yourself, says Marty Basher, a home organization expert with Modular Closets.
Basher recommends cleaning one room at a time, instead of doing one task throughout the entire house.
“Instead of cleaning all the floors at once or doing all the dusting at once, just clean room to room,” Basher says. “This is easier to keep you motivated and it is a nice boost to see something completely finished.”
Basher also suggests being intentional about which areas of your home you clean first. For example, always dust a room from top to bottom, so you aren’t redoing your own work. Basher also recommends cleaning from the back of the house to the front of the house (or vice versa) so you aren’t tracking dirt through areas you’ve already cleaned.
Don’t forget the refrigerator
Let’s face it: There’s probably some pretty weird stuff in the back of your refrigerator. It’s time to change that.
Take an afternoon to empty out your refrigerator entirely. Then, clean the drawers, shelves and interior walls of your refrigerator, says Caitlin Hoff, a health and safety investigator with ConsumerSafety.org. She also recommends cleaning the condenser coil found at the bottom of your refrigerator, though be sure to read the owner’s manual for tips on how to do this properly.
“Go through condiments and old Tupperware containers,” she says. “Throw out ingredients and foods you never use.”